I noticed a distinct difference between the way Europeans & Americans view their environment when I visited Europe. Because Europeans live in an environment of old, seemingly permanent, structures they have developed an ethos of “care taking”. Whereas Americans live in an environment where building and developing new things and ideas are prized. I believe that a balance of those two ideas is important, but it seems that the American habit of building temporary structures and throwing away, otherwise useful, things is not healthy for our long-term survival.
The same goes for our thoughts. The recent trend is to live in the “Present”. Which is to say;
When you live in the present, you are living where life is happening. The past and future are illusions, they don’t exist.
While this strategy may make it easier to focus on a given task, it doesn’t help any of us in the long run. Just think about how you view everyday tasks in your life:
- Do you open a box of cereal in the morning with a plastic bag inside only to throw it away in less than a week? How did our ancestors get their breakfast?
- Do you dream about buying a new car?
- Do you even know where the water you drink and use for your household chores comes from?
- Do you go beyond the distance you can walk to get to work, shop & childcare?
- Do you take care of your clothing or just throw it away when the next fashion hits?
I recently watched a video about the oldest things on the planet. One of those things is Jean Calmet who lived to be 122. When she was 13 she met Vincent Van Gogh and by the time she died, we had the internet. They have observed that long-term survival takes cooperation.
So, what do you think?